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To the International Community: A Popular Consultation is better than an Election

By Luis Manuel Aguana

It is not very difficult to imagine after the events of January 5th that this parliamentary crisis was deliberately created by those who were its main protagonists, the official opposition and the regime of Nicolas Maduro Moros. The events that followed a supposed "division" of the opposition, between those "opponents" that sold out to the regime, and the other that comes out pristine and unblemished to claim that it was mocked and expelled from Parliament, look like a crude mise-en-scene that only seeks to refloat an image that we Venezuelans already see fading gradually without giving a clear answer to the cessation of the usurpation of Nicolás Maduro Moros.

The crisis in Venezuela began to turn -again- to elect deputies to the National Assembly, taking us back to the beginning of 2015, where the campaigns of the parties asked the Venezuelans to wait a little longer because as of January 2016 the opposition deputies already elected would dismiss the regime. And Venezuela believed them. Venezuelans voted massively for the opposition. And they lost. We all lost…

I wrote on December 7, 2015 asking myself whether I had indeed won the MUD or lost the regime (see in Spanish ¿Gano la MUD o perdió el gobierno? in Four years later, the regime has shown that they actually won that election. From the beginning, the regime neutralized the victory of the opposition in the election of the National Assembly on December 6, 2015, as well as all the victories that they have achieved (or been given) for one cause or another. The case of the National Assembly itself is the best example of the fact that there is not, nor will there be, an electoral solution as long as the regime remains in power.

In my opinion, however, the most serious aspect of all this is that the international community has been sold on the electoral solution proposed by both the opposition and the regime, insisting that the solution to the country's crisis lies in holding elections. That is a solution for the political parties, not for the Venezuelans. It cannot be understood that in a regime that has hijacked all public powers, and especially the electoral power, the opposition parties still insist on selling us the electoral solution with a corrupt CNE to end the crisis of the country.

For many years we have insisted that any solution to the Venezuelan crisis must involve the participation of the People's Sovereignty. Citizen participation IS NOT THE SAME AS ELECTIONS. In fact, elections are a form of citizen participation in the matters that concern us, and that goes much further than the punctual election of some officials to public office; and that until now in those cases where opposition candidates have been elected, the regime has managed to ignore them and imprison them.

This citizen participation has been denied to us, both by the regime and by its opposition. The former have openly prevented calls for recall referendums, and the latter have silenced outwardly the fact that constitutionally we Venezuelans can directly exercise our sovereignty through the mechanisms guaranteed to us by the Constitution itself. It is the people themselves who must openly express their will in relation to the problem that we Venezuelans are living through. And that expression, due to the magnitude of the problem we are going through, cannot be through elections. That general expression can only be expressed through a Popular Consultation carried out by the citizens, regardless of the hijacking of the Electoral Power. This is allowed by the Constitution through its Article 70.

Since long before the ruling of the legitimate TSJ of June 13, 2018 that declared the use of the Automated System for elections in Venezuela VOID and ordered the restructuring of the CNE and the Electoral Registry, we have stated that no more elections can be held in Venezuela without having cleaned up the Electoral Power. The official opposition political parties have openly ignored that Sentence in order to continue going to electoral processes with the regime. That is unacceptable for the citizens because it represents the open cohabitation that we have denounced time and again, and that is already known by the International Community.

Hence we must address them directly and ask a fundamental question: What else can we citizens do but insist that our right under the Constitution to exercise our sovereignty directly is being violated? We wish to denounce that the representatives of the opposition have intercepted our constitutional desire to express ourselves and exercise our sovereignty through the mechanisms of popular participation established in the Constitution in order to decide the problem of Maduro and his criminal regime. However, this solution has been silenced to the International Community by prioritizing electoral arrangements with a regime that has done nothing but disregard the will of the citizens by trampling the Constitution.

That is why a group of citizens propose to the world a POPULAR CONSULTATION that restores the validity of the Constitution of Venezuela, without the participation of ANY OF THE POWERS KIDNAPPED BY THE REGIME. It is ALL THE CITIZENS, those invested and not invested with authority, who have that obligation according to our Magna Carta in Article 333. We wish to say that it is not only the Deputies, who are officials invested with authority, but also the millions of Venezuelans who suffer in their own flesh the humiliations of a criminal regime. That is why it is MANDATORY to CALL on citizens to demonstrate and decide which path to follow.

However, even with this constitutional prerogative, many still wonder how to do it if the regime has all the powers seized. Well, the first thing we must ask ourselves is whether or not it is a solution to call on the Sovereign People of Venezuela to decide, and whether that would effectively take the regime off our backs, setting aside for the end how we would effectively "collect" that mandate. It is like the well-known story of the cat and the mouse, the question is not how to put the bell on the cat to know when it is coming, but to ask ourselves if the bell is indeed a solution or not. If we all agree that it is a solution, the next problem to consider is how to put the device on the cat.
And since many may think that calling for People's Sovereignty is not a solution, I will start there. There is no greater political force than a people speaking in unison before the world about its destiny. Take a look at history. Look at Gandhi's India and his people's stubbornly peaceful effort to throw the English out of their land; look at the concentrations caused by Martin Luther King's dream and the result of black people's pressure for civil rights in the United States.

And without going any further in time and place: look at July 16, 2017 in Venezuela, when the entire International Community, after the extraordinary results of that civic celebration, WAS WAITING FOR THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY to invest a new President in charge, supported by the more than 7.5 million expressions of will expressed that day. The regime was TECHNICALLY FALLEN and the "opposition" politicians NEGOTIATED those results for a regional election. Never as before were we closer to freedom than on July 16, 2017 if the official opposition had not turned us in.

If the International Community is convinced that the Popular Consultation is equally electoral because it summons the people, is peaceful and is constitutional as it actually is, then all international pressure must be directed NOT TO AN ELECTION as Maduro or his customary opposition demands, but TO THE PEOPLE THAT EXPRESS THEIR VIEWS ABOUT THE PERMANENCE OR NOT OF THE REGIME and that they act with the necessary force and with the authorization of that same people as a result of that consultation, in the case that the popular mandate is not fulfilled. Likewise, this consultation should establish how the transition should be carried out and the mechanism to choose this Transitional Government, finally establishing the basis for a clean and transparent electoral process. That Transitional Government would then have the necessary popular support to be stable and to govern one of the most difficult periods that we Venezuelans will face.

If everyone is convinced to CONSULT THE PEOPLE, as indeed the Venezuelan Catholic Church has already been convinced, as expressed by its Bishops in their recent Episcopal Conference, the resources to carry out the consultation, the organization and the people to carry it out, where all Venezuelans in Venezuela and abroad would participate, will indeed appear.

We Venezuelans therefore require that the International Community change its position regarding the solution for Venezuela and help us to summon Venezuelans to express themselves in accordance with the Constitution IN A POPULAR CONSULTATION TO RESTORE THE CONSTITUTION. That they understand that in Venezuela NO ELECTIONS CAN BE MADE TO ELECT ANYONE WHILE THE REGIME IS IN FUNCTION, AND THAT THEIR SANCTIONS ARE TO OBLIGATE THEM TO BE COUNTED IN PLEBISCITARY TERMS.. Only then will we begin to see light at the end of the tunnel...

Caracas, January 17, 2020


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